Following the double injury blow to Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin, it’s being reported that Ryan Fraser and Dwight Gayle look set to be called upon to fill the void.
This comes from Luke Edwards – The Telegraph’s man in the North East and a journalist who is widely known to be a ‘friend’ of Steve Bruce’s.
He claims that we look set to stick with the same formation that has seen performance levels improve since Graeme Jones’ arrival, stating that Ryan Fraser should replace Allan Saint-Maximin – with Dwight Gayle also expected to take up the central role previously occupied by Miguel Almiron.
This would mean a front three of Fraser, Gayle and Joelinton could be on the cards at West Brom this weekend – unless the latter is replaced by Jacob Murphy.
If true, one issue I have with this would be the fact Gayle for Almiron is anything but like for like, with the Paraguayan playing in more of a No 10 role in recent weeks.
Almiron’s pressing has been relentless and he’s been a key figure when it comes to creating for the front two and linking midfield to attack. Gayle is an out and out striker, not someone who will drop deep and create – not to mention the fact he’s barely kicked a ball since the turn of the year and looked way off the pace in last month’s 2-0 defeat to Chelsea.
That said, Gayle played a big role during Project Restart – bagging four goals and an assist in 8 games – and Fraser has the ability to create if he too can stay fit; highlighted by his teasing cross that was headed home by Jamaal Lascelles over the weekend.
This period without our three best attackers is going to be tough no matter how you look at it, I just have my reservations about putting Gayle in the Almiron role and hoping for the best when the two are totally different players.